By Angela Bekiaris: Asthma is a chronic condition that makes the lungs’ airways swell and inflame — and during dry winters, asthmatics can suffer even more. Medical professionals explain that muscles around the bronchial tubes in the lungs tighten, causing the airways to become sensitive and restricted. Thicker mucus is produced, which contributes to the narrowing of the airways in the lungs as well.
Symptoms To Look Out For
- Coughing, especially at night
- Tightness in the chest
- Impaired breathing (short, quick or noisy)
Note: Experts explain that the frequency and intensity of these symptoms may vary from person to person. When these symptoms are exacerbated, it is called an asthma attack or asthma episode.
There are a number of triggers that one should look out for or learn to stay away from. uhs.umich.edu lists them as:
- Allergens such as mold, pollen, animal dander, dust-mites and cockroaches.
- Irritants such as tobacco smoke; scented products like perfumes; pollution, especially the particulate matter (PM) that’s found in smoke, smog and diesel exhaust fumes, which can be extremely hazardous to the lungs.
- Intense feelings like stress, laughter or crying because they can restrict airflow and impair normal breathing patterns.
- Food and alcohol due to the additives found in food and wine, like sulfites
If you suspect you (or someone in your care) has asthma, you should visit your GP for an accurate diagnosis. They will probably refer you to a pulmonologist for further tests, too.
Living With Asthma
It’s not easy to control symptoms, and for some harder than others, but there are ways to try manage your asthma.
- Short-term medications that provide quick relief during attacks.
- Long-term medications that control asthma in general.
- Avoid triggers.
- Avoid allergens and irritants like smoke and pets, if you know they make your asthma worse.
- Maintain a clean living environment, with minimal dust and mold.
- Monitor environmental changes and air quality in your area on a regular basis.
- Beware of alcohol-medication interactions.
- Be prepared for an attack — always have medications, medical contacts and emergency information readily available.
Asthma is one of the most common respiratory diseases in the world today, but that hasn’t stopped them — or any of these Hollywood stars — from reaching their goals. The celebs are all asthmatic:
- David Beckham
- Jessica Alba
- Jason Alexander
- Kristin Chenoweth
- Sarah Michelle Geller
- Billy Joel
- Wynonna Judd
- Diane Keaton
- Ricki Lake
- Lindsay Lohan
- Sharon Stone
- Harry Styles
Courtesy of www.uhs.umich.edu